Nexus Planning has achieved a hat-trick of significant appeal wins in the specialist housing-with-care sector. This marks what Nexus believes are positive signs indicating a rising acceptance around the diverse long-term benefits of this growing sector.
In the last six months, three major housing-with-care schemes in Walton-on-Thames, Epsom and Bath have all been granted planning permission at inquiry for Guild Living, one of Nexus Planning’s clients, representing 777 units of extra care accommodation for older people.
Despite the planning policy landscape evolving to directly respond to changing demographic and care requirements, the UK’s provision of housing-with-care is still lagging behind comparative markets like Australia, New Zealand and the USA. In these markets 5-7% of over 65s live in retirement communities. In the UK, the level of provision of similar services is 0.6%, leaving limited choice for people growing older and developing care needs.
Guild Living’s ‘later living’ communities aim to deliver retirement neighbourhoods in urban areas with good access to shops, services and local facilities. The model also incorporates facilities such as restaurants, swimming pools and wellness centres designed to be shared by residents and the wider community, of all ages.
The three inquiries tested and affirmed the significant far-reaching benefits provided by the housing-with-care model, which centres around the elderly retaining the advantages, privacy and dignity of living in their own home. Critically, the inquiries all recognised the developments’ positive impact on health and wellbeing, town centres and high streets, along with the vast social and economic advantages attached to this style of later living housing.
The planned communities in Bath, Walton-on-Thames and Epsom are all traversed by generous landscaped spaces – open to the public and mostly car-free – providing important new connections through the sites. These connections and new pedestrian routes create communities which are outward facing, and provide opportunities for people of all ages to engage with each other.
Tim Spencer, Nexus Planning’s Associate Director who led the appeals, commented: “It’s very encouraging that these important appeal decisions all recognise the vital role specialist housing-with-care plays in meeting the housing and wellness needs of a growing older population, and we expect the outcomes of these appeals will provide a clear direction to decision makers.
“We believe the frequent antipathy to such schemes and dismissal of their significant benefits is now a thing of the past, and that decision makers will look to approach such developments with the positive disposition required by national planning policy and guidance.”
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